As an experienced property developer, Ricky Martin Chu insists that the market is shifting drastically. Real estate investing is far different than it was twenty years ago. Here are four ways that property development is changing in North America.
For property developers and managers, the buzzword for technological development is “proptech.” This “property technology” is changing the way brokering services and agents serve clients. In fact, some would argue that increasingly intelligent software is eliminating the need for brokers altogether.
Regardless, those looking to rent or buy are using their smartphones to get it done. Whether it’s a property manager keeping track of their online listings or a curious resident studying crime trends in a certain area of town, Ricky Martin Chu notes that proptech is making it harder for uninformed brokers to look like anything more than a “middle man/woman” trying to get in the way of money changing hands.
Proptech merges with fintech (“finance technology”) to include more data further serving the real estate market. Not only are lenders finding ways to make real estate loans more accessible, but software services are able to provide pre-approval services that match potential borrowers with the best lenders. In the not-so-distant future, fintech capabilities to match real estate entrepreneurs with investor capital will only speed up real estate development projects.
Today’s real estate owners are looking at a property’s eco-friendliness and urban sustainability more than ever before. For some, this means buying properties to flip and add “green” features, such as solar panels and tankless water heaters.
For others, sustainability means renovating rather than building, repurposing rather than starting from scratch. In many cases, this means that property development will cost more initially. However, Ricky Martin Chu states the fundamental idea behind sustainability is the understanding that short-term ROI may not be best for long-term profits and social responsibility.
Today’s workforce (particularly employees with disposable incomes) cares about work-life balance. Self-employment empowers skilled freelancers to work their schedule on their own terms. Likewise, salaried employees are increasingly being given the option to work out of their home. The trend is perhaps subtle over the last ten years, but not so in the last five years. Technology and human resources development have made it such that people want a home that will also act as their workplace.
What does this mean for real estate developers? Ricky Martin Chu states that this means that home buyers want more: not necessarily in terms of space, but definitely in terms of amenities and upgrades. They want nicer indoor and outdoor spaces, and they want a home where they can work and make memories with the family.
Ricky Martin Chu is a property development expert and investor based in Vancouver. He studied chemistry at the University of British Columbia before launching a career in professional trading. In time, Ricky grew to love renovating and building homes as a developer and investor. Today, his business develops properties and studies real estate trends worldwide.